DENVER (CBS4) – The founder of a fundraising calendar featuring firefighters is now facing a long list of criminal charges.
The money related to the calendars was supposed to be for charity, but now the founder of Fired Up For Kids faces charges of theft, charitable fraud, filing false tax returns and more.
The money was meant to benefit children suffering from burns, but instead of going to The Children’s Hospital Foundation, prosecutors claim a great deal of it went into Kirsten Hamling’s accounts.
“I think it’s disturbing because it’s a matter of trust, and people who rallied around her efforts thought that they were contributing to child victims,” Lynn Kimbrough with the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.
The investigation of Fired Up For Kids found, among other expenses, payments for Hamling’s school tuition for a child, a fitness club, a Disneyland trip, car repairs, and Nordstrom.
Rebecca Clark is one of the firefighters who tried out for the calendar. CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger spoke with her last year.
“And so when I find out when they’ve been using it on trips to Disneyland and shopping, and anything other than The Children’s Hospital, it really, really upsets me and makes me feel so used and taken advantage of,” Clark said.
Some of those working for Hamling discovered money they believed was going to her pockets. Court documents claim Hamling sent an email to them forged with the name of a Children’s Hospital Foundation member stating, “Ms. Hamling had confessed to Children’s Hospital and they were thanking her for coming in and being honest and they were going to help make this right.”
Hamling’s accusers told investigators that they “were happy that Ms. Hamling was willing to deal with the problem so they didn’t feel a police report was appropriate at this time.”
It may have stalled the events, but did not ultimately prevent the charges Hamling now faces.
CBS4’s calls to the attorney for Hamling were not returned.
A new firefighter’s calendar project is now taking place under a new organization.
CORRECTION: Rebecca Clark’s name listed incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.